A Bit of Frustration – April Goals

The past couple of weeks have been kind of rough. I’ve had a lot of stress because of finals and whatnot, and it’s been hard for me to stay positive. (There were a LOT of tears last week). Last week, I didn’t write my Saturday post or my Earworm for the week. Instead of sitting around being frustrated about it, I’m going to call it a week off, and get back to my routine this week. I’ve finished all but one of my finals, so I’m looking forward to having a little more time to focus on writing and some of my other priorities outside of school.

Also on the positive side of my life, I read a couple of interesting books this month. I finished Uninvited, by Lysa TerKeurst, which my sister Christina recommended. The book was good, and there were a few excellent points in it. I also read Animal Farm, by George Orwell. Like 1984, this book was dark and fascinating. It made me think about the world in a different way. I would highly recommend it. I started the book Dr. Thorne, by Anthony Trollope. My mom and I watched through the BBC series based on the book, and I’m excited to see if I love the book as much as I loved the series. So far I like it.

I’m a little behind on several of my goals, but I’m trying to focus on doing well now, rather than sitting around regretting the busyness of the past couple of weeks. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this Kate Rusby song:

Positively Negative

This is a weird subject for me to write about, because it is something I fail in a lot: staying positive. I tend to get bogged down in my dark thoughts and anxiety. I’m writing this post to inspire myself, and maybe even help you. I think the best way to do this is to use a real- life example.

Last Saturday I was far behind on my math. I had been spending a lot of time with my sister who was in town for a week (which was amazing), and I had a lot of other school to tackle, because finals are coming up soon. So, on Saturday, along with my blog post, some other school, and music practice, I had more math than I could tackle in a day. I was struggling with one of the concepts, and it was taking me much longer than I thought it should. I did not have a good attitude. All I could think about was that I would never get it down in a day, and that I would have to do it on Sunday, and that I wouldn’t get my blog post done, again, and that I would fail the class and be shamed by all of my engineering school friends (my thoughts are crazy sometimes). I was in this loop most of the morning, and I made very little progress on anything, because my brain wasn’t focused. This is a sadly typical negative response that I have to hard things, especially being behind schedule.

At around 3, I realized that I wasn’t getting anything done, because I was too busy worrying and hating myself. I had a decision to make. I could continue my negative feedback loop, and continue to do nothing. Or, I could try changing my attitude. I decided to change my attitude. Instead of focusing on what I wasn’t getting down, I decided to focus on what I could get done, and let go of the rest. I focused on getting done the math that I could, and not everything else I wasn’t doing. Even though my attitude was better, I still didn’t get everything done. I didn’t write a blog post. I didn’t finish all of my math, so I had to finish it on Sunday. My attitude didn’t change all of the circumstances, but it did change how I handled it. I was free to focus, and free to relax and enjoy the learning process.

So this week, I want to focus on staying positive. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to pretend that everything is perfect, or even force myself to not feel sad. I just will move on from the stress and sadness, rather than stay stuck in the muck of my own attitude. I need a lot of practice, and I’m choosing to start now.

How do you fight negative thinking? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments section!